Pillow Talk; Dr Chris Idzikowski Is Director of the Edinburgh Sleep Centre

Article excerpt

Dr Chris Idzikowski is director of the Edinburgh Sleep Centre I've beenstruck by a recent study* on the effects of mobile phones on sleep - and alsojust how many research papers show that using mobile phones prior to going tobed affects not only how long it takes to go to sleep but also the quality ofthe sleep.

One carefully controlled study in the Journal of Sleep Research examined howphones placed near the subject's head for 30 minutes affected sleep.

Three settings were used: 'standby' when the mobile is on, 'listen' when theuser is listening and 'talk' when the user is speaking. Each produces adifferent amount of microwave radiation. 'Talk' mode had the biggest effect,delaying the time to go to sleep. It also reduced the amount of deep sleep byabout ten minutes. The likely good news from other studies is that the effectlasts only about an hour.

Sleep is not passive, and the brain reorganises itself if it is disturbed. Ifdeep sleep is affected in the first hour it can increase in both duration andintensity in the next, so any adverse effects will disappear.

Nevertheless, the studies are clear - don't use your mobile in bed before youtry to sleep..

My partner insists on sleeping with the radio turned down low. Could this bewhy I wake up tired?

There are lots of reasons for waking up tired, which may not include thequality of your sleep. If the thyroid gland is not producing enough thyroxine -which regulates the body's metabolism - or iron levels are low, this can have abig effect on tiredness. …